Mezze Merise - Lebanese Food festival at Colony, Raintree, Alwarpet

A group of us were invited to try out the Lebanese delicacies dished out by Chef Ahmed Ammouri, which will be featured in the upcoming Lebanese food festival "Mezze Merise" at the Colony restaurant in RainTree hotel at St.Mary's Road.

Chef Ahmed Ammouri, a self-motivated culinary professional with over 15 years of progressive experience has catered to royalty and heads of state delighting them with his Lebanese creations. A few notable guests like the King of Morocco, Prince of Saudi Arabia and Sultan of Muscat. He has also catered to the Prime Minister of Cyprus at a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Egypt in Cyprus. He has won many awards for his creations.When we were told all this, I was expecting an intimidating personality. But he was very friendly and down to earth and it was such a pleasure interacting with him. Mr. Rakesh Sethi, GM and Mr.Patel, executive chef joined us for the dinner and we were talking about food and drinks.
Chef Ahmed Ammouri
Colony restaurant (formerly called Rainbow), has the ambiance featuring contemporary Madras. They served predominantly South Indian cuisine with a twist/touch of modernisation. While one side of the wall is beautifully decorated with artifacts associated with Madras, the other end is stocked up with crockeries and utensils that are very much South Indian.

To start with, we were served the vegetarian mezze platter having hummus, moutabel, tabouleh, fatoush, batate harra, beet salad and pita bread. Being a big fan of hummus and given the fact that I can eat a big bowl of it just like that, I simply loved the hummus and the moutabel. Both were creamy and the smokiness in the moutabel was awesome. Also unlike the usual way of presenting the dish, both the hummus and moutabel were presented in a plate with the well in the centre where generous amount of olive oil was poured. The tabouleh was fresh with the parsley and tomatoes pairing up well. Fatoush, the vegetable salad with crispy pita, had a mild flavour of basil which was very refreshing. Everyone liked the batate harra - the potato salad unanimously. It was spicy and tangy at the same time and was served with lots of olives. The beetsalad was also very nice and the beetroots tossed with sesame and lemon juice & garlic were cooked to perfection.





Batate harra
The thing I loved about the mezze platter was that, everything served was fresh, light and tangy. Unlike other cuisines where we feel almost full after the starters, the platter left us feeling light and more ready for the main course. For main course we were served rice, bazella - lebanese lamb and green peas stew with spices, dajaj mishwi - baked chicken with vegetables, bajegan moussaka - baked aubergine with onions, tomatoes, cumin and mozzarella cheese and batata yakhneh - lebanese potato stew. I loved the lamb & green peas stew. Minced lamb was cooked to perfection in a mildly spicy gravy. The chicken was tender and spicy with beautifully cooked potatoes, carrot & zucchini. The mousakka was juicy, tangy and cheesy with caramelised onions. The couscous salad was light and fluffy and went well with the stews.

Bajegan Moussaka

Batata Yakhneh


Dajaj Mishwi

Desserts !! The most awaited part was this as I simply love Baklava. We were served Baklava and Basboosa. Baklava was super yummilicious with mild sweetness. The phyllo pastry in the top and bottom was baked to perfection and the pistachio nuts scented with rose water and orange blossom was heavenly. Basboosa - roasted semolina cake with shredded coconut and rose water was super sweet and very heavy. More of the fusion of kesari and coconut burfi :)

Since this was an invited dinner on part with Chennai Food Guide's bloggers initiative, cannot comment about the pricing or the service.

The Lebanese food festival is on from 2nd October - 18th October. One can get to taste the Lebanese delicacies for dinner buffet at a price of Rs. 1,450 without alcohol and Rs. 1,850 with alcohol. Apart from all the dishes mentioned above, there will be more addition along with a live shawarma counter.

Place        : Colony, Raintree
Location   : St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet

P.S : The write up is based on personal experience only. Colony - The Raintree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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